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Veteran actress who still stuns on screen at age 75

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For some actors, old age seems to signal the end of their careers but not for Bonnie Bedelia. At the age of 75, one might think the celebrated actress would be retired and enjoying the benefits of her immense work and achievements over the years. However, Bedelia continues to be focused on entertaining and gracing the screens, doing what she loves best.

The seasoned actress has been a part of several recent projects and shows no signs of slowing down. As many may or may not know, Bedelia hails from the renowned Culkin family heritage, a dynasty known for producing several stars across generations.

This article sheds light on the life and career of the seasoned thespian and her journey thus far, as well as what she has been up to lately.

Bonnie Bedelia biography

Bonnie Bedelia

Bonnie Bedelia Culkin was born in 1948 in Manhattan, New York City. She grew up in a family that was already familiar with the entertainment and media scenes. Her father, Philip Culkin, was a well-known journalist, and her mother, Marian Ethel Wagner, worked as an editor. 

Bedelia’s family travelled about a lot throughout her youth owing to her father’s business, but they ultimately landed in New York. She has three siblings with whom she has a close relationship. Bedelia had an interest in performing as a young girl and began taking acting courses. Her early involvement in school plays and local theatre shows aided her in discovering her love of acting.

Her father worked in public relations, but their lives were turned upside down when his company went bankrupt. Her mother died when she was 14 years old and her father, who had long suffered from an ulcer, died shortly after.

During her youth, Bedelia studied dance at the School of American Ballet and later honed her acting skills at HB Studio. She stands at a height of 5 feet 4 inches tall.

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Bonnie Bedelia career

Bonnie Bedelia at an event

Bedelia has enjoyed a diverse career. Before making her mark as an actress, she delved into ballet and even appeared in productions with the New York City Ballet, including securing a role in The Nutcracker. Her onscreen dance performance as Clara in the 1958 Playhouse 90 production of George Balanchine’s Nutcracker is noteworthy.

On the TV screen, Bedelia had a regular role on the CBS soap opera Love of Life from 1961 to 1967. She also ventured onto Broadway, where she debuted in Isle of Children and earned a Theatre World Award for her lead role in My Sweet Charlie in 1966.

Her journey in films began in 1969 with The Gypsy Moths and she gained recognition later that year for her role in They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? Bedelia has displayed her acting skills in various types of movies, including comedy, drama and action. She notably starred in Die Hard and its sequel, Die Hard 2.

Bedelia also appeared in adaptations of Stephen King’s work, including Salem’s Lot and Needful Things. Her noteworthy television work includes Emmy-nominated performances in Fallen Angels and Locked in Silence.

She continued to shine as she took on leading roles in TV films and miniseries like Switched at Birth, A Mother’s Right: The Elizabeth Morgan Story and Picnic. Her portrayal of “Capt. Kate McCafferty” in the drama series The Division from 2001 to 2004 was also noteworthy.

Bedelia’s versatility extended to guest appearances in shows like Big Love and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. In 2010, she played the family matriarch in the NBC drama series Parenthood. She has also made appearances in Designated Survivor, Hallmark movies and a guest spot on the Netflix series What/If in 2019.

Bonnie Bedelia movies

Bonnie Bedelia in a movie

Throughout her career, Bedelia has appeared in a wide variety of movies. As a result, we will highlight a selected number of her popular works, according to IMDb.

  • They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (1969): In this drama, Bedelia played the role of “Ruby.” The film is set during the Great Depression and revolves around a gruelling dance marathon contest where participants compete for cash prizes.
  • Die Hard (1988): Bedelia portrayed “Holly Gennero McClane”, the wife of the film’s protagonist, “John McClane”, played by Bruce Willis. The plot revolves around “John McClane’s” efforts to rescue hostages held by terrorists in a Los Angeles skyscraper.
  • Presumed Innocent (1990): In this legal thriller, Bedelia took on the role of “Barbara Sabich”, the wife of Harrison Ford’s character, “Rusty Sabich”. The film follows the investigation of a prosecutor who becomes the prime suspect in a murder case.
  • Salem’s Lot (1979):  In this horror TV miniseries, which is based on Stephen King’s novel, Bedelia played “Susan Norton”, a character involved in the mysterious and supernatural events that unfold when a writer returns to his hometown, only to find it plagued by vampires.
  • In Heart Like a Wheel (1983): Bedelia received critical acclaim for her role as drag racer “Shirley Muldowney” in this biographical drama. The film chronicles the life and career of Muldowney, who broke barriers in the male-dominated world of drag racing.
  • The Strange Vengeance of Rosalie (1972): In this drama film, Bedelia played the titular character, “Rosalie”, a woman whose life takes a dark and complex turn when she becomes involved with two brothers. The film explores themes of love, obsession and revenge.
  • Needful Things (1993): Based on Stephen King’s novel, Bedelia had a role in this horror film as “Polly Chalmers”. The story is set in the fictional town of Castle Rock, where a mysterious shop owner (played by Max von Sydow) opens a store that seems to fulfil people’s deepest desires but at a dark cost.
  • Switched at Birth (1991): Bedelia portrayed “Regina Twigg”, a mother who discovers that her biological daughter had been switched with another baby at birth, leading to a legal battle and emotional turmoil.
  • Picnic (2000): In this television adaptation of the classic play by William Inge, Bedelia played the lead role of “Flo Owens”. The story revolves around a Labour (May) Day picnic in a small town, where emotions run high as relationships and desires are explored.
  • Parenthood (2010-2015, TV series): Bedelia starred as “Camille Braverman”, the family matriarch, in this popular TV series. “Parenthood” follows the lives of the Braverman family, addressing various familial and personal challenges they face over the years

ALSO READ: Polly Draper: Hollywood star who propelled her sons to stardom

Bonnie Bedelia’s net worth

Bedelia has a net worth of $4 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth

Bonnie Bedelia family

Bedelia’s personal life has seen several chapters. She married scriptwriter Ken Luber on April 24, 1969, and together they had two sons: Uri, born in 1970, and Jonah, born in 1976. However, their marriage ended in divorce in 1980. 

After her divorce, she briefly had a stint with musician and screenwriter, Jay Telfer.

Later, in 1995, she wedded actor Michael MacRae, adding another chapter to her personal life journey.

Bedelia has two brothers, including actor Kit Culkin, and a sister named Candice Culkin. Notably, she is the aunt of actors Macaulay, Kieran, and Rory Culkin.

Bonnie Bedelia age

Bedelia was born on March 25, 1948. She is 75 years old as of 2023.

Bonnie Bedelia now

Bonnie Bedelia now

In recent times, the veteran actress has continued to thrive in her career, even while approaching her twilight age. In 2021, she secured a recurring role in Amazon Prime’s Panic series. Additionally, she starred in the movie Violet in the same year, sharing the screen with fellow stars, Olivia Munn and Steve Agee.

In 2022, she took on a role in the romantic comedy-drama The Noel Diary where she portrayed the character “Ellie Foster”.

In 2023, Bonnie Bedelia starred as “Gram” in the movie, The Hill. It is a true-life drama that runs for about 2 hours and 6 minutes. The Hill tells the incredible real-life tale of Rickey Hill’s unlikely journey to become a Major League Baseball player. Hill is a former baseball player with a degenerative spine disorder.

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